Some U.S. Navy Ships Are Being Run By Computers That Have Not Been Replaced For Decades.

Virtualization could allow cruisers such as the USS Chancellorsville, built in 1987, to serve longer and help grow the fleet. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Peter Burghart

Popular Mechanics: The U.S. Navy Is Shrinking the Size of Its Gargantuan 70s-Era Computers

Thanks to Moore’s Law, the Navy can save a lot of time, effort, and weight replacing old, big computer systems with new, small ones.

A recent missile test by the U.S. Navy validated an innovative concept that will make upgrading the electronics and computer systems on older warships much, much easier.

The late March test saw the destroyer USS Thomas Hudner controlling its Aegis Combat System, including the launch of a missile, through a handful of computers in boxes small enough to “fit under a dining room table”.

The heart of the U.S. Navy’s shipboard defenses is the Aegis Combat System. Named after Zeus’ shield in Greek mythology, Aegis was designed to be “the shield of the fleet”, making it possible to defend carrier battle groups from mass attack by missiles and bombers. Designed in the 1970s, Aegis ties together the SPY-1 radar system and air defense missiles such as the Standard SM-2, SM-6, SM-3, and others to identify, track, and systematically shoot down up to hundreds of targets at a time.

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WNU Editor: The computers may have gotten smaller, but I suspect that the software has gotten far more complex.

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